Chester Medical Solutions has rounded off a £2m year-long investment programme with the installation of a new six-colour B2 Komori GL29 with coater.
The pharmaceutical contract packer and packaging manufacturer said it is the first packaging specialist in the UK to have taken the machine.
The machine was installed at the end of March in Chester’s 5,600sqm Deeside, Wales site, but was only commissioned in the last few weeks. It made up just more than half of the £2m investment, with the rest being spent nine months ago on a Bobst Novacut 106 die-cutter, a Bobst Expertfold A110 folder-gluer, a custom-made machine for printing Braille onto cartons and several smaller pieces of finishing kit.
Chester managing director David Patterson said that with the Komori plus the Bobst kit, the outfit essentially had a brand new packaging line. The GL29 is being treated as an addition to Chester’s roster of kit but may eventually replace its older Lithrone L28.
Patterson said: “We’re still learning with some of the technical stuff on it but it’s behaving as it should on efficiencies, on speed and on waste.
“We bought it more in terms of quality and security rather than too much on speed. That’s irrelevant really, the other reason we bought it is that even though it is a smaller format press, the pharmaceutical world is moving towards shorter runs, more changeovers, so for us the most important thing is having a machine that can churn lots of jobs in a day; the absolute running speed is almost academic.
“I think one of things you have to be aware of is that it’s not just changing the press, it’s a cultural thing, if you have a culture of a business used to doing long runs and not having to deal with many changeovers you have to make that cultural change to get the best out of the press.”
Patterson also highlighted the machine’s PQA-S V5 vision system that reads text on sheets to pick up any missing or defective pieces of text. Running at a maximum printing speed of 16,500sph, the UV GL29 has a one-touch system for sheet thickness changeovers, taking a maximum size of 530x750mm.
Patterson said Chester had initially considered bringing in a new digital press but felt Komori “bridged the gap between digital and litho quite well”.
“It’s obviously not going to make us a penny more profit but we are hoping it will open up new pharmaceutical customers because of the security features on the press."
Along with its Deeside printing site, 70-staff Chester has its headquarters and contract packing operations in Bromborough, Merseyside.